As soon as he slipped into the crowd, Suo Jia untied Nicole’s bindings. The next part was simple; in this kind of environment, Nicole didn’t need Suo Jia’s help at all. Once she was free to move, she’d be ten times harder to catch than Suo Jia. Just finding her would be an impossible task.
They could no longer return to the hotel, so Suo Jia and Nicole agreed to meet outside the city. The two then split up, heading outside from different directions. Ferreting them out was completely impossible; both Suo Jia and Nicole were stealth experts.
Their journeys went smoothly. It was evening by the time Suo Jia had finally reached the arranged destination to meet up with Nicole. The two didn’t dare to stop, and rushed along their route all through the night, before finally stopping the next afternoon to rest and eat. Suo Jia no longer dared to consume the potions to restore his physical strength and spirit, so he’d die of exhaustion without rest.
The two silently ate their dry rations without saying a word. It wasn’t that Suo Jia was unwilling to speak, but that he had nothing to say. Nicole also didn’t know what to say; Suo Jia had saved her life. How was she supposed to thank him?
Money, well, Nicole was absolutely certain that Suo Jia was extremely well off, and could be classified as an extremely wealthy and powerful person. The amount of money that she had was so minor that he wouldn’t even glance at it. Aside from money, how else could she repay him?
After contemplating this for a long time, Nicole finally realized that the only thing she could do was accompany Suo Jia to adventure through the Greater Trade Routes. Unfortunately, she had something extremely important that she needed to do, and was unable to leave at the moment. Thus, she couldn’t agree to go with Suo Jia.
Nicole finally raised her head and said in a low voice, “City Lord Suo Jia, I’m extremely grateful for you saving me. But please understand, despite this, I still cannot accompany you to the Greater Trade Routes. I still need to do something that’s even more important than my life.”
Suo Jia stuffed the food in his hand into his mouth, took a large swig of water to wash it down, then said indifferently, “I didn’t rescue you because I wanted you to join me on the Greater Trade Routes. After being together for so long, I’ve already considered you one of my friends.”
“What?!” Nicole shouted in astonishment and stood up. She hadn’t imagined that Suo Jia would say something like that; it was really too unexpected.
Suo Jia dusted off the crumbs on his hands, and said calmly, “As a friend, I find something very strange; why would you go out and steal money? I know you’re a thief, as well as a treasure hunter. But if I recall correctly, hidden treasure normally isn’t within someone’s house, but in the desolate wilderness, right?”
Nicole couldn’t help but flush at this. What Suo Jia said was right; while thieves could steal other people’s possessions, as well as items, wallets, etc in the city, those were things that only thieves did, not treasure hunters. Treasure hunters would never do something so tasteless.
Suo Jia looked at the blushing Nicole and continued, “Moreover, even if you wanted to steal, there’s no reason to go as fas as brazenly stealing from the city lord’s residence. Isn’t that like plucking the whiskers off a tiger’s mouth, are you tired of living?”
Faced with Suo Jia’s question, Nicole could only lower her head in shame, unwilling to reply. Suo Jia helplessly sighed and said, “If I didn’t guess wrongly, you really need money, right?”
Nicole hesitated for a moment before finally nodding in reply, “That’s right…I really need money, really need a lot, a lot of money.”
Suo Jia furrowed his brows and asked curiously, “Although I can’t say I know you that well, but you don’t look like you’re really the type of person infatuated with money. At the very least, you aren’t a slave for money. In that case, why do you need so much of it?”
Faced with Suo Jia’s question, Nicole fell silent once more, refusing to say a single word. Seeing her conflicted expression, Suo Jia could only sigh and say, “As your friend, I’m just concerned for you. I only wish to be able to help you. I hope that you can tell me anything that concerns you. Then, I won’t just watch from the sidelines.”
Nicole suddenly lifted her head to gaze deeply at Suo Jia, but she soon lowered her head once more and shook her head, “No…I’m very grateful for your kindness, but you can’t help me. The amount of money I need isn’t small; I need a very, very great amount.”
“Alright…” Suo Jia nodded and calmly smiled, “How about this, as long as you tell me what’s troubling you, then I’ll definitely come up with a way to help you. Trust me, I can do it.”
“You,” Nicole lifted her head in shock as she said incredulously, “I know you have the ability to help me, but we’re just normal friends. You have no reason to help me so much. I…”
Suo Jia abruptly lifted his hand to stop Nicole from speaking any further, and he firmly stated, “You still don’t understand me, so please don’t try to look at me with logic. According to logic, my disruption of the execution ground was already incomprehensible, but didn’t I do it anyways?”
Nicole’s eyes lit up. That’s right…although they were already safe now, Nicole knew that the execution ground incident was still very dangerous. It could be said that Suo Jia had risked his own life to save her. If he was willing to even give up on his own life, then was there anything that he’d be unwilling to sacrifice?
Nicole finally steadied her resolve, and nodded. “Fine. Since you insist on asking, then I’ll just tell you; no matter whether you help me or not, I won’t blame you.”
She took a deep breath to settle her thoughts, then declared, “Although my family’s fame for fighting prowess is spread far and wide, it’s just a name that had been established by our ancestors. In reality, our family’s been gradually fading out of the thief circle the past few generations.”
“Oh,” Suo Jia looked at Nicole strangely and asked in confusion. “That shouldn’t be so; if your ancestors are so famous, there’s no reason for the descendants to not follow in their footsteps.”
Nicole replied flatly, “Perhaps you find it really hard to understand, but this is all very normal. There’s no reason aside from just not enjoying it. My parents still feel really strongly about power and influence, and they don’t like having such a risky career.”
Suo Jia nodded in comprehension. Although at first glance, this reason seemed far-fetched, it was actually the most important reason. If they didn’t like it, they naturally wouldn’t want to deal with it; people always enjoyed the things they liked.
As treasure hunters, they could possess endless wealth. However, they’d never have any power or influence to speak of. Since Nicole’s parents felt so strongly about power, they’d naturally abandon their previous line of work.
Nicole continued, “You should also know that as an influential family of treasure hunters, especially people like us that are famous for their fighting prowess, we are extremely wealthy. With a road paved with gold, my parents quickly became aristocrats, and smoothly entered the aristocrats circle.”
“Hm…” Suo Jia nodded. He knew that although money wasn’t omnipotent, there were few things that it couldn’t do. At the very least, money was able to turn someone into a noble.
Suo Jia asked in confusion, “Isn’t that a good thing? Since they became aristocrats and have so much money, how have they fallen to this point?”
Nicole fiercely clenched her teeth and said, “The aristocrats are filthy things. Their greed is insatiable; after experiencing the sweet taste of power, they became even more avaricious. They kept seeking riches from my parents. When my parents were no longer able to bear the heavy burden and refused, those so-called nobles finally revealed their shameless faces.”
Nicole’s eyes teared up as she said grievously, “Urged by their greed, my parents were framed. It was claimed that they were planning to defect to another country, so my whole family was banished. Our assets were also completely removed as punishment. Only after I manage to collect 10 billion frads will they release my family.”
“Hm,” Suo Jia asked in confusion, “Didn’t you say that your parents had already died? Then why are you talking about being released now?”
Nicole shook her head and patiently replied, “That’s right, my parents died 10 years ago. The empire’s enemies must be beheaded. Even the family possessions are distributed amongst the soldiers. If it it weren’t for the fact that I’d told them the locations of all my family’s hidden treasures, I’d probably be a slave soldier right now.”
A warm expression unfolded on Nicole’s face as she said in a low voice, “My parents are no longer here, but…my younger brother and two younger sisters still are. I have to collect 10 billion in order for them to regain their freedom. For the sake of my family, no matter how great of a price I must pay, I have to gather 10 billion frads and rescue them out.”
“Heavens.” Suo Jia inwardly sighed in admiration. The frad was Kaya Empire’s currency. One frad could be exchanged for 2 gold. In other words, Nicole needed to gather 20 billion gold to rescue her younger siblings.